Something we see discussed a lot around TouchArcade is people constantly asking how to get into making games. While it might’ve been exceedingly difficult in the early days of the App Store, in 2017 you can get started developing with little to no actual code knowledge thanks largely in part to easy to use development environments like GameMaker Studio 2. I’d say Crashlands ($6.99) is probably the most recognizable GameMaker title that TouchArcade folks might know, but there’s tons of other titles made using the tool.
Like most of these things, GameMaker has several pricing tiers that vary wildly based on what you’re going to do with it. The most recent news to come out of GameMaker is the addition of a $39 annual subscription price tier for their “Creator" edition. This will unlock all the full capabilities of GameMaker, with the only catch being you only are able to export your projects as PC or Mac games.
Once you get a bit more serious, you can then upgrade to tier “Developer" tier which starts at $99 with additional add-ons to publish games to all desktop platforms, HTML5, mobile devices, and more. Of course before you do any of this you can just download the free version, which will allow you to get a feel of what working in GameMaker is like without the ability to export your projects of utilize very many resources.
They even have an ability to gift a license, so if you have someone in your family who seems like an aspiring game developer, $39 is a pretty decent amount to spend on a Christmas gift. Who knows, maybe they’ll go on to make the next Crashlands.